Dr. Jon Beck
Dr. Jon Beck
Associate Professor of Computer Science
B.S Biology, The George Washington University
M.S. Computer Science, Hood College
Ph.D. Computer Science, West Virginia University
Advisor, Tru Women in Computer Science (TWiCS)
Honors or recognition:
Allen Fellowship for Teaching Excellence 2005
Missouri Governor’s Award for Teaching Excellence 2004
Truman State University Educator of the Year 2004
Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence (TSU), 2000
Bioinformatics and computational biology and
How do you involve undergraduate students in your research?
I mentor research projects in which students carry out the real work. In the maize genetics and bioinformatics project, for example an interdisciplinary team of students engages in the biology based questions, co-mentored by biology and computer science facutly. Faculty help frame the questions and set up the research projects, but students do the work and get the results. Most of my published papers have student authors.
What attracted you to teaching at Truman?
Excitement and a sense of purpose were in the air after the change to the new liberal arts mission at Truman. Also, the ’Goldilocks’ size: [Truman is] small enough to be personal, big enough to have significant resources and depth. I was also impressed with the focus on student learning and involvement at Truman. For example, when I interviewed, I was asked to teach a class and students were asked what they thought of me, and they were given a say in the decision.
What do you like best about teaching at Truman?
I am allowed to experiment with different teaching styles and methods without fear of retribution if an experiment does not work as well as I had hoped. I enjoy collaborating with colleagues and interacting with the great students at Truman.
What has been your greatest accomplishment or success while teaching at Truman?
Being chosen Educator of the Year by current Truman students.
What do students seem to like most about your classes?
I focus on material that is important to them and they know what they learn in my classes will help them in jobs and graduate school. I don’t make them memorize trivial details. instead, we explore interesting guestions together at whatever pace is best for each class.
What graduate schools are some of your former students attending?
University of Texas at Austin
Southern Illinois University
University of Illinois
UC Santa Barbara
Loyola University Chicago
Arizona State University
University of Kentucky
Iowa State University
Kansas State University
What careers have some of your former students entered?
Programmers, analysts, and software developers in heavy manufacturing (Caterpillar), aerospace (Boeing), technology (IBM, Intel), telecommunications (Sprint, SBC), finance (UMB Bank, Principal Financial, MasterCard), medical software (Cerner), consumer software (Microsoft), food services (DOT Foods), consulting (Accenture, Envision)
What do you like best about living in Kirksville?
It’s a safe, friendly town.
What do you do for fun in Kirksville?
I hike and mountain bike in Thousand Hills Park and paddle my canoe and kayak on Forest Lake and the Chariton River